No cookbook about traditional European food would be complete without the basic recipe for kotletki, if only as a reminder that meat was once scarce and ingenious ways were always being invented to transform beef or veal, chicken or turkey, lamb or pork into a tasty dish.
Kotletki are variously called patties or rissoles but they were never meat burgers and, despite the common denominators of soaked white bread, breadcrumbs and spices, they were never odd-shaped meatballs.
Kotletki were and are generally made with beef, but these days they are made with whatever ingredients are in the larder. There are no rules about ingredients, just the method.
This version includes a stuffing of fresh apple and dried apricot in a meat and potato casing.
- 500 g beef, ground
- 400 g waxy potatoes, baked whole, mashed
- 1 sweet apple, cored, peeled, puréed
- 100 g breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 50 g dried apricots, chopped small
- 5 g dill, chopped
- Salt, pinch
- Black pepper, freshly ground, pinch
- Flour, for dusting
- Oil, for greasing
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Combine beef, breadcrumbs, dill, egg, potatoes and seasonings.
Combine apple and apricot in a small bowl.
Divide into 90 gram pieces, cut in half and twin.
Dust flour on a clean surface.
Place each half in the flour, press into thin ovals, 10 cm in diameter. Repeat and keep the twin rounds together.
Put a heaped teaspoon of the apple-apricot mixture on one of the twin rounds, place the second on top. Seal the edges and using a fork make indentations around the edges.
Place the kotletki on a greased baking tray.
Bake for 15 minutes, turn over and bake for a further 15 minutes until they take on some colour and are crisp at the edges.